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[U] Commonwealth v. Etters

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 11, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
SABRINA S. ETTERS, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order entered on February 13, 2013 in the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, Criminal Division, No. CP-14-CR-0000423-2011

BEFORE: DONOHUE, SHOGAN and MUSMANNO, JJ.

MEMORANDUM

MUSMANNO, J.

Sabrina S. Etters ("Etters") appeals from the Order denying her first Petition for relief pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"). See 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 9541-9546. We affirm.

The PCRA court set forth the relevant factual history:

[Etters] was employed as a housekeeper for the Village at Penn State ["the Village"] and worked on the same floor as an eighty-four year old resident, who was suffering from dementia. In early October 2010, the man's daughter realized that two checks were issued from his account and cashed at First National Bank. Video surveillance showed [Etters] cashing the checks, using the First National Bank drive-through, at a time matching the time stamp on each check. Ellen Corbin ["Corbin"], an administrator at the Village, was given still photographs from the video surveillance in the event that she observed either the car or the woman shown in the photographs at the facility. [] Corbin did observe the vehicle from the photographs at the Village and notified Detective Richard Saupp of the Patton Township Police Department. Detective Saupp went to the Village and had a conversation with [Etters], the registered owner of the vehicle. During the conversation, [Etters] admitted to the thefts and completed a written confession.

PCRA Court Opinion, 2/14/13, at 1-2.

Etters was charged with theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, and forgery. Following a jury trial, Etters was found guilty of theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property, and found not guilty of forgery. On August 8, 2011, the trial court sentenced Etters to two years of probation, ordered her to pay restitution to First National Bank, and pay a fine.[1] Etters filed a timely Notice of Appeal; however, she discontinued her appeal on October 21, 2011.

On January 3, 2012, Etters filed a PCRA Petition. The PCRA court appointed counsel, who filed an amended PCRA Petition. Following a hearing, the PCRA court denied the Petition. Etters filed a timely Notice of Appeal.

On appeal, Etters raises the following question for our review: "Did the PCRA court err in concluding that trial counsel was not ineffective in failing to seek the suppression of [Etters's] confession?" Brief for Appellant at 4.[2]

This Court's standard of review regarding a PCRA court's order is whether the determination of the PCRA court is supported by the evidence of record and is free of legal error. Great deference is granted to the findings of the PCRA court, and these findings will not be disturbed unless they have no support in the certified record.

Commonwealth v. Carter, 21 A.3d 680, 682 (Pa.Super. 2011) (citations and quotation marks omitted).

Etters contends that her trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress the statement she gave to Detective Saupp. Brief for Appellant at 11. Etters argues that the evidence demonstrated that her confession was coerced because Detective Saupp confronted her with evidence of criminal activity, provided her with paper and a pen to write her confession, and she was not free to leave her meeting with Detective Saupp. Id. at 11, 13.[3] Etters also asserts that her counsel failed to file a motion to suppress because she was trying to get Etters placed in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition ("ARD") program and that a potential plea bargain involving an offer of probation would have been rescinded by the Commonwealth. Id. at 11-13. Etters claims that counsel did ...


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